Renewable energies face a number of obstacles that hinder their widespread dissemination: public reluctance, lack of qualified manpower to implement them, high investment costs, resistance to change resulting from the inertia of the existing energy system.
This potential is enormous. If we decided to cover all of our well-exposed roof and facade surfaces with solar panels, we could meet our entire annual hot-water requirements, a significant proportion of our heating needs, and nearly 40% of our electricity consumption by 2050.
Today, thermal solar panels are the best solution for meeting hot water needs. But in a few years, with the expected advances in technology, it will become increasingly interesting from an economic and energy point of view to cover all the energy needs of a building with photovoltaic solar panels, coupled with a heat pump.
Switzerland’s wind energy potential with current technologies is estimated at 52 TWh, which corresponds to approximately 90% of our national electricity consumption in 2018. However, the realisation of this potential will depend heavily on the degree of acceptance of this technology, particularly by the inhabitants of areas where wind turbines are planned.
Unfortunately not, because wind turbines must be at least about 80 m in size to become profitable.
The energy that a wind turbine captures in the wind is proportional to the area swept by its blades, i.
Switzerland has a sustainable biomass potential estimated at about 10% of its primary energy needs. Today, only half of this potential is actually exploited.
Biomass comprises all resources of plant origin (wood, grass, agricultural residues, vegetable oils, algae, etc.
Given the other energy sources available in Switzerland, our biomass should be used as a priority for the simultaneous generation of electricity and heat (or even cooling). The latter should be used in remote heating networks.
The fuels sold in Switzerland at the pump (petrol, diesel and natural gas) already contain a small proportion of biofuels. This proportion is set to increase, in line with the target values of environmental legislation in Switzerland and Europe in the transport sector, to which liquid biofuels are often the only realistic short-term answer.
The potential for additional development of small hydropower in Switzerland is around 1.5 TWh per year, or around 3% of our current electricity consumption.
In Switzerland, small hydropower plants (or “small hydropower”) are defined as hydropower plants with a capacity of less than 10 MW.
The Swiss Confederation considered that the economic cost and ecological risk associated with the multiplication of very small hydropower plants (micro-hydropower) was too high, given the residual potential for electricity production that this technology could provide.
Heat pumps make use of the heat naturally available in the environment. They are therefore one of the most appropriate solutions for increasing the proportion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in all applications that require heat.
Heat pumps offer good energy performance, but their implementation comes up against several types of constraints: technical (space requirement, noise), environmental (risk of water pollution) and above all economic (cost of the electricity required for their operation).
Deep geothermal energy for electricity production is an unproven technology in the Swiss geological context and its prospects therefore remain uncertain. If its development goes according to plan, deep geothermal energy could eventually contribute around 4.
It is not certain. The industry will still have to demonstrate that it can control financial and technological risks, such as induced seismicity, through pilot and demonstration projects. However, deep geothermal energy remains a potentially very interesting source of energy in the Swiss context, and research and development efforts should continue in order to manage these risks.
In principle, yes. New renewable energy sources in Switzerland have sufficient potential to replace our nuclear power plants. But only if we develop seasonal storage for electricity from renewable sources and replace direct electric heating and water heating with solutions based on renewable heat production.
The level of competitiveness of renewable energy depends on the energy service offered. Heat production from renewable energy sources is generally cost-effective. However, biofuels and “green electricity” are not yet competitive in terms of production costs.
All energy sources emit greenhouse gases. Renewable energies indirectly emit CO2, but much less than the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, petrol, diesel, natural gas). However, CO2 capture and sequestration technology could, in the long term, change this situation.